Salvaged Vehicles in Tennessee

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When your car is seriously damaged, your insurance company may declare it a total loss, or a salvage vehicle. However, this isn’t necessarily the end of the road for your car—in fact, there are several different routes you can take for dealing with your total loss, which we’ll go over on this page.

Keep reading to learn about all the different options the Tennessee Department of Revenue (DOR) offers when it comes to salvaged vehicles.

What Is a Salvage Car in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, you have a salvaged car (or total loss) if:

  • Your insurance company determines your vehicle is so damaged, the repair costs exceed the vehicle’s actual cash value.
    • Typically, coverage providers will call a car a total loss if the damage exceeds 75% of the actual cash value.
    AND
  • The car is under 10 years old.

If you believe your vehicle could qualify as a total loss, you’ll need to file a total loss claim with your insurance carrier. Ultimately, your insurance provider will decide whether your car meets the criteria for TN salvaged vehicles.

Non-Repairable Vehicles

Some cars are so damaged, they have no economic value except for scraps or parts.

When your insurance company determines you have a non-repairable vehicle, you can apply for a Non-Repairable Certificate. The process is the same as applying for a TN salvaged title; however, you’ll receive a Non-Repairable Certificate instead and can never title or register the car again.

File a Total Loss Claim

After your car has been severely damaged, you must file a total loss claim with your insurance company. Your provider will then determine whether your vehicle qualifies as a total loss; if it does, you will need to decide if you want to:

  • Keep the car and accept a partial payment from your insurance provider (full settlement minus the value of the car and any deductibles on your policy). You’ll then have two options: OR
  • Sign the car title over to your insurance carrier and accept a full payment (less your deductible).
    • Aside from providing proof of lien satisfaction (if applicable), the car is no longer your responsibility.

Before making a final decision of whether or not to keep the car, take some time to speak with your insurance agent. Each situation is different, but your agent should have a good idea of the amount of work required to get your car back up and running.

Apply for a Tennessee Salvaged Title

Applying for a salvaged title with the TN Department of Revenue is easy—simply mail the following items to the DOR:

Send the above items to:

Tennessee Department of Revenue
Special Investigations Division
Anti-Theft Unit
44 Vantage Way, Suite 160
Nashville, TN 37243

If you have questions about obtaining a salvage title in Tennessee, contact the DOR’s Anti-Theft Unit at (615) 253-7246.

Rebuilding Your Salvage Vehicle in TN

When you start repairing your car, make sure you have the following items, which you’ll need to provide when you apply for a TN rebuilt title:

  • Pictures of the vehicle before AND after it’s rebuilt.
  • An Application for Motor Vehicle Identification Certification (Form RV-F1315401), to keep track of and disclose the parts you replaced during the repair process.
    • The DOR requires this form to be notarized when it’s submitted for a rebuilt title.
  • A notarized affidavit stating the rebuilder’s name and full mailing address IF you hired someone else to rebuild the vehicle,
    • The TN DOR provides a general Affidavit (Form RV-F1311001) you can use.

If you have questions during the rebuilding process, do not hesitate to call the Department of Revenue’s Anti-Theft Unit at (615) 253-7246. It’s better to spend a few minutes on the phone rather than hours backtracking on a mistake made while repairing the vehicle.

Apply for a TN Rebuilt Title

Once you rebuild your car to state standards, you can begin the process of applying for a TN rebuilt title. As part of the process, your vehicle MAY need to pass an anti-theft inspection, which we’ll go over in this section.

Required Documents for a Rebuilt Title

To start, submit the following items to the Department of Revenue:

  • The vehicle’s salvage title.
  • A completed and notarized:
  • Colored pictures of the vehicle before AND after repairs were made.
  • *Receipts, bills of sale, and/or invoices for all the replacement parts used to rebuild the vehicle; the receipts must include the:
    • Buyer and seller’s name and mailing address.
    • Make, model, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle from which the parts came
  • The $75 rebuilt title fee.

Mail everything to:

Tennessee Department of Revenue
Special Investigations Division
Anti-Theft Unit
44 Vantage Way, Suite 160
Nashville, TN 37243 

The DOR should inform you on whether your vehicle requires an inspection and, if applicable, when and where your anti-theft inspection will take place (we’ll go over inspection requirements next). If your vehicle doesn’t require an inspection, the Department of Revenue will return the above documents to you and you can skip down to “Obtain Your TN Rebuilt Title.”

Call the Anti-Theft Unit at (615) 253-7246 with any questions you have about the documentation needed to convert your salvage title to a rebuilt title. 

*NOTE: Additionally, receipts for NEW PARTS must indicate that the parts are new AND receipts for parts from an IN-HOUSE SUPPLY must include a copy of the front and back of the car title to prove ownership.

TN Salvage Vehicle Inspection

Your rebuilt salvage vehicle MIGHT need to pass an anti-theft inspection before a rebuilt title can be issued. The Department of Revenue will ultimately decide whether your car needs to be inspected and can waive the inspection for any vehicle if there’s good cause. 

If an inspection is needed, the DOR will tell you when and where to go to have your car checked for fraudulently acquired/installed parts. At the inspection, you’ll need to provide:

  • Bills of sale, receipts, and/or invoices for the replacement parts used to rebuild the vehicle.
    • The DOR should already have these documents from when you submitted the required documentation above.
  • An affidavit stating the car was repaired to the manufacturer’s and state’s standards.
    • The TN DOR provides a general Affidavit (Form RV-F1311001) you can use for this.

Once your vehicle passes, the inspector will stamp your salvage title as certified and return it to you along with all the other documents you submitted (above) except the pictures of your car. Now you’re just one simple step from getting your Tennessee rebuilt title!

If your car requires an inspection, call the TN Department of Revenue’s Anti-Theft Unit at (615) 253-7246 to confirm your documentation and vehicle are in accordance with state requirements. Having all your ducks in a row BEFORE the inspection will save you the hassle of having to have your car re-inspected.  

Obtain Your TN Rebuilt Title

You’re in the home stretch! To obtain your Tennessee rebuilt title, simply take all the documents the Department of Revenue returned to you to your local county clerk’s office.

Once everything’s approved, you’ll receive your rebuilt title. With this title, you can legally drive your once-salvaged vehicle on TN roads again.

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